Notwithstanding the barrage of infrastructural challenges, apprehensions and frustrations that characterised the implementation of Government’s free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the story has been that of joy and excitements for traders and hawkers at Assin in the Central Region.
Before the implementation of the policy, the phenomenon of children hawkers selling sachet water (pure water), toffees among other items was a common sight.
However, since the policy came into fruition barley two months ago, the major markets and commercial towns such as Assin Praso, Breku, Fosu, Akropong-Odumasi where many of them were plying their trade in the Assin North Municipality was now history.
The story was no different in the Assin South District where many of these hawkers found in major towns including Nyankomasi, Darmang, Manso, Andoe, Nsuta and Edubiase have disappeared. Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, some parents said “the children were selling those things to help us raise monies to finance their education, but with the free education, they are all in school.
The obviously excited parents said formerly, they had no choice than to let their wards support their trading activities sometimes during classes hours because they could not finance their schooling. Nineteen-year-old Bright Osei, who sold varieties of items including pure water at Nyankomasi market confirmed the observation to the GNA saying ” I was selling pure water to help my parents raise money to further my education but I have stopped selling because my education is now free”.
Osei is a General Arts student of Aggrey Memorial Zion School, a grade ‘A’ SHS in the Cape Coast Metropolis. Some of the hawkers have gained admission to Assin Manso and Obiri-Yeboah Senior High Schools.
The elated student thanked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffu-Addo for sticking to his campaign promise of implementing free and compulsory SHS education to enormously remove the increasing education financial burden on parents.
He said: “Had it not been free education, it would have taken me between two to three years for me go to school. My family and I are sincerely grateful for this privilege”.